Airline passengers are skipping queues at London’s Heathrow Airport by pretending to need a wheelchair after watching a video on TikTok, the airport boss has claimed.
ohn Holland-Kaye accused passengers of contributing to the recent travel chaos by asking for special assistance to “try to get on track quickly.”
In an interview with LBC on Tuesday morning, the airport chief claimed that “travel hack” videos on social media platform TikTok had sparked a trend for able-bodied travelers who claimed to need wheelchair assistance at the airport.
LBC presenter Nick Ferrari said: “Last week 20 wheelchair users waited in their allocated area for someone to take them through immigration.
“There was no air conditioning; These people sitting there knowing it was an absolute disgrace.
“Why can’t we get people, it seems, in Terminal 3 to look after people with mobility issues?”
Mr Holland-Kaye replied: “Well we now have the same number of people on our ‘passengers requiring assistance’ team as we did before the pandemic.
“We have seen that the demand has increased significantly.
“Part of this is because people are using wheelchair assistance to try and get through the airport quickly; that is absolutely wrong. We need to protect that for the people who need help most.”
Mr Ferrari asked if Mr Holland-Kaye said people were “blatantly abusing the rules and pretending they need this when they don’t”.
“Absolutely, and if you go on TikTok you will see that this is one of the travel hacks people are recommending,” he added, repeating, “Please don’t do this, we need to protect the service for people who need him most.”
Mr Holland-Kaye also accused disabled passengers and people who need special assistance of asking too late, saying: “About half of the people who ask don’t ask until they’re on the plane.”
He urged passengers to “leave [Heathrow] know in good time so that we can meet your needs”.
In June, a TikTok user angered social media users pretending to need a wheelchair to skip long airport lines.
Student Wolf Jenkins filmed himself in line at Ibiza airport before his flight home to Bristol and admitted he pretended to have an injured ankle and had been assigned a wheelchair.
Meanwhile, many travelers with disabilities have reported discouraging delays arriving or traveling through UK airports.
Last month, a passenger spoke of feeling “traumatized and humiliated” after special assistance was slow or non-existent on either side of her flight at two different UK airports.
Meanwhile, passenger David Judd slammed Manchester Airport this week for its slow special assistance service, which made him feel “as insignificant as a person can feel”.
https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/travel-news/airport-boss-blames-tiktok-trend-for-passengers-skipping-queues-by-pretending-to-need-wheelchairs-41870954.html Airport boss blames TikTok trend for passengers skipping queues by pretending they need wheelchairs